Buying in bulk

September 29, 2012

Doctor Zorro’s recent parable about his elderly patient who complained about her daughter’s extravagance of buying too much Tylenol made me smile.  Her rationale being at her advanced age, it would be unlikely for her to use up all the pills her daughter bought on special.

While, I am not quite as old as she, I feel a certain kinship with the lady. However, I do still buy unripe avocados and occasionally a green banana because about 55 years ago a palmist, called Madam Roxanne, told me I would live to be 72 years old. (After that, I am counting on Dr. Zorro to carry the ball!)

Nevertheless, like the lady, I have found myself complaining when some members of the household come home with enormous amounts of “stuff” that was purchased in the name of saving money. I remember about 20 years ago when the Purchasing Department brought home literally a boat load of paper products. (We had to store them in the boat!)

Another time I was forced to finally clean out the basement for the new arrivals.

It seems every once in a while someone in my house gets caught up in this buy-in-bulk and save cabal, much like Cosmo Kramer did in that Seinfeld episode, when he bought so much ,Beef-o-roni, he had to feed it to Rusty the horse, with disastrous results.

Normally, the storage issue does not cause me that big a problem, however, one day, a GALLON jar of maraschino cherries showed up in the fridge.

When I asked what that was all about, I was told it was a bargain and they would be used in cakes, desserts and drinks during the upcoming holiday season. After that things went well and life did seemed like a bowl of cherries until three months later.  One Saturday morning,  while I was trying to move the nearly still full cherry jar to make some room in the fridge, it slipped from my hand and fell on the tile floor with a sickening crash.

You just can’t imagine what a mess a gallon of maraschino cherries …and their sticky, blinding red juice makes on a kitchen floor. Well, I had my weekend work laid out before me.

After the Cherry Bomb Affair of ’95, bulk buying did subside a bit until the other day when very large tubes of toothpaste arrived blocking the bathroom door. These tubes were the size of Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins…  and there was a school of five of them.

I thought to myself, if I brush my teeth four times a day for the next forty years, I could not use all this brilliant whitening power.

Maybe I could give a couple of tubes to the old lady….


Adieu Ma Mere et Mon Pere

September 26, 2012

I read the other day that the French want to pass a law eliminating the words “Mother” and “Father” in all public documents and replace them with the word, “Parents.” This change in obvious deference to those people of the same-sex, who wish to raise children but for biological reasons do not meet the definition of mother or father.

Now, I have no problem with any and all types of QUALIFIED people raising children, however, this latest French gambit seems a bit odd, not unlike a lot of French exports. I always have said the French make great bread, wine and cheese, but they have a little problem with automobile manufacture,  and their clumsy attempts to make their odd language rules fit the modern world.

As a point of reference, you should know, I also have no issue with “Gays” per se. I think everyone should have an equal opportunity to succeed or fail in the domestic partnership commonly referred to as secular marriage. My only issue with homosexuals is when they co-opted the word “gay” for their own personal use back in 1969. Since that time, I have been forced to restrict my use of this wonderful word to issues of homosexuality. Even now,  I feel it is necessary to, “don my festive apparel” in order to have a merry old-time during the Christmas season.

But I digress.

Back to the French. I think this elimination of the words “mother” and “father” is Un Grand Faux Pas.

It is going to cause chaos, confusion and significant unintended consequences.

For example, Mother Nature may become Parent Nature. (remember, it’s not nice to fool mother nature!)

Invention will not know if Necessity was her mother or father.

The Parent of all Battles just would not strike the same chord as the Mother of all Battles for Saddam Hussein. But maybe then he would have had second thoughts about taking on the West.

When Mother Earth becomes parent earth?  What’s that all about?

And clearly Mother Russia will never be loved in the same way again.

My computer’s motherboard will become this an insipid, hermaphrodite  “parent board. ”

The Fatherland will not have the same testosterone induced effect if called Parentland. No doubt more trouble for the Euro.

Mother sauces won’t know if they are to become hollandaise or béarnaise. ( French chefs will have a real problem with this one)

I just know people will have a bigger problem with, “Our Parent who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name…”Just as they try to refer to Sister Mary Margaret as , “Parent Superior”

Just imagine the confusion in the minds of the little tykes everywhere as they begin their annual letters with “Dear Parent Christmas”

Do you think California Dreamin’ would have been a big hit if it was sung by the Parents and the Parents?

I have not even gotten to old Mother Hubbard , and the rest of the Parent Goose nursery rhymes.

The list goes on and on.

So, I say to the French government, for the sake of Ma Mere et Mon Pere, stop this silliness. Leave the language alone. The Mothers and Fathers, …the people will find their own way.

Every year when summer fades and the days get shorter, the Time of Lying begins. And every Four years, we have the Olympics of Lying.

As you may know, in my opinion,  politics and most politicians are tiresome and annoying.
To me,  nearly all politicians are self-absorbed, narcissistic and shallow. They prey on the weak, uninformed and uneducated to ensure the continuance of their own luxurious lifestyle.
Each year, we have Lying Events in which the politicians attempt to set new Folly Season records, thus obtaining the gold metal for another term in office.
This years big event is “Redistribution.”

It has its basis in the English folklore of  Robin Hood.

Now I suspect nearly every thinking person believes that the rich and powerful in a society have an obligation to assist those less fortunate. This is easily seen in the substantial charitable works the citizens of this country perform.  However, like many things in life, when impersonal government gets involved, extremes can develop. Such extremes were manifested in the former Soviet Union and mainland China during the last century.

The rules of the current redistribution game are simple. A middle man played by the government (and politicians) seeks to acquired as much wealth as it can from the productive part of society. It then passes this wealth off as gifts from the benevolent government to those less fortunate. In the process, the government skims off a massive largesse for itself.

Now, these amounts have become so great to support its redistribution addiction, the government seeks not only wealth from the present generation of producers, it saddles the future generation with its debt obligations the minute a child is born.

Even before they taste their first drop of mother’s milk, every child’s share of the federal debt is in excess of $51,000.
Nearly all civilizations have practiced redistribution in one form or another, but in the United States we are already one of the biggest redistributors in world history. There does not appear to be a limit in sight.
The problem with too much redistribution is that eventually the producers get tired of working  only to see all the gold and silver medals go to the politicians. When this happens, as history tells us it will, Republics cease to exist.

Nevertheless, the Folly continues.

Apples and Oranges

September 21, 2012

Part of the job of farming is to see what other produce and food options are available to consumers in the marketplace.

To keep connected with consumer preferences and trends, I frequently visit several produce stands and marketplaces to see what is available. Recently, I stopped by a couple of emporiums to check things out.

I was shocked and amazed.

First, I saw some Honey Crisp apples at a local big chain supermarket. Honey Crisps, developed in Minnesota in 1960 have become the darling of the apple world. After tasting its crispness, sweet hint of honey, and as the juice runs down your chin, you just know it was a Honey Crisp that Eve used to tempt Adam.

I did not know much about Honey Crisps until Kate gave me the run down last year. They are the only apple she will eat, so I tried one. They are sweet and delicious …and expensive. The fresh crop goes for $3.99 a pound. I bought 3 apples the other day for $9.05 !

Behold the $3 apple!  I think I need to plant an orchard of them next spring.

Next I went to the citrus market to check out the oranges. Being late summer, no citrus from North America is ripe and ready for sale. I did however find some navel oranges from Australia for $1.49 a pound!

Being a citrus grower, I know what goes into growing fresh fruit like this. It is incredible to me that they can grow these sweet, delicious oranges and ship them 12,000 miles and sell them for $1.49 a pound. With all the growing costs, harvesting, packaging, shipping and retail markup, I can’t believe the farmer actually makes any money on this beautiful product.  But the American consumer benefits, while I doubt many actually know what goes into getting this fruit to the table. We in this country just assume it will be there at some cost.

So, the next time you get in a discussion or difference of opinion, be it political, religious or sports, and your antagonists say you don’t know the difference between apples and oranges.

Just tell tell them $2.50.

My 12-year-old granddaughter, Kate’s favorite food is chocolate cake. And over the last couple of years, it has been my policy to get her a chocolate cake whenever she scores a goal for her soccer team.

Well, this past week, Kate has scored three goals in each of her last two soccer games. So I guess I “owe” her six chocolate cakes.  Maybe I could get her to accept cupcakes.

She is also now wearing fancy new soccer shoes with a swoosh on them.

Kate has pretty good footwork to begin with, but those flashy shoes no doubt help confuse and confound the goal keeper as she rockets the ball into the back of the net.
Two hat tricks in consecutive games would deserve a Soccer World story in any league but the Saint Louis under 13 girls. So congratulations to Miss Kate and here is your cupcake.

My Ford Flex now has new shoes, of sorts too.

You may recall last week when  I was at the Ford place and Celeste was working on my new tires. Well, she  also recommended that I fill the tires with nitrogen as she pointed out that nitrogen has fatter molecules than plain old air….blah, blah, blah. Dealer talk.

Now with  such a heavenly name and a pious sales pitch,  Celeste would not lead me astray. Would she?

I looked to Matt  for confirmation. He of course agreed, so I coughed over the extra $30 and went for the nitrogen.
Well, first off, I was delighted to see that this nitrogen upgrade came with stylish green valve caps, thus identifying to the world that I am good person who chooses to use up less air and help save the planet. (From what?)
Still, happy with my purchases , I drove smugly away.

A few miles down the road, I started thinking about this nitrogen business. I began to wonder if the gas inside my tires was the same vapor that I got about 30 years ago at the dentist’s office; that nitrous oxide (laughing gas) additive.
I recall that after I got a whiff of that analgesic, I laughed so hard, I made Dr. Dentist drop his drill.
So, now I need to know if this stuff in my Goodyear Eagles IS laughing gas.

Well, the tires do look happy,… if not down right giddy.
I wonder, if I could suck a little of that gas out of my tires and just see if I would LOL.


Later, when I shared this idea with Kate, she exclaimed, “I want to do that too!”
Great, so now, I have this somewhat disturbing image of the two of us sucking on the tires and then RODLOLH.**
Not so sure this is the type of activity I want her to remember about her papa.

Maybe I will just get a BIG chocolate cake to make her happy.


**Rolling on driveway laughing out loud hysterically.

Truck Envy

September 14, 2012

The other day, I was in the Ford place getting new tires on my FLEX when I ran into Danny and Sidney. They were getting new pickups. Two shiny white F-150s were sitting there ready to go.

Immediately, I said I gotta get one of those!

I don’t know what it is about pick ups, but they are the best thing on four wheels. Over the past 20 years I have had about 6 or 7 of them.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my Flex with its smooth ride, ease of entry and electronic bells and whistles, but there is something manly and fun about a pickup. Sitting up high in that cab taking on all types of terrain with confidence. It is just the way things ought to be..

Since, it would be a couple of hours to do the service on my Flex, Tim let me use his truck to run some errands. As he handed me the keys, he said, ” Oh Woody, there is a 45 in there. Just in case you run into some feral hogs.”

I joked, ” Thanks Tim, a 45 is a little bit smaller caliber than what I generally carry, but it will certainly do the job!”

While that did not surprise me, as nearly all the pickups in this small farming community are equipped with at least 2-3 guns in them, I wondered how many other places in the world are like this town and like these responsible, hardworking, caring people.

As soon as I got behind the wheel, I just knew I “needed” to trade and get a new truck.

Part of the fun is equipping a new truck with all the mandatory  electronics and office equipment. For example, John carries his computer, and every sort of weather, agriculture and farming app available. He can tell you at a moment’s notice which way the wind is blowing and if it will be a rough winter!

Then you need the state of the art sound and navigation system as well as the requisite tool box and ice cooler in the bed …and naturally a place for Mikey.

Just one question. What color?!

Physicians and Farmers

September 7, 2012

My friend and physician, Dr. Zorro often says that one of the best parts of his job is playing detective. He likens the process of diagnosis to solving a mystery or a puzzle.

Using years of experience and education with incredible diagnostic tools such as blood analysis, x-ray, MRI etc., he forms an opinion as to what is wrong with the patient. Then he can prescribe a course of treatment. Sometimes it is easier than others as he reminds me, “… after seeing about 10,000 sore throats, you sort of know what to look for.”

On the other hand some diseases mimic many others, so much more careful and indepth analysis is required.

Being a farmer is similar in many aspects.
You have trees that contract diseases, and it is your job to find out what is wrong. Unlike Dr. Zorro, when I ask my “patients” where does it hurt? They remain stoically silent.

I also can not perform blood work or x-rays to aid in analysis. I rely on visual assessment of leaves, fruit and overall presentation of the tree. I can do soil samples and refer to the environmental factors present, such as moisture, seasonal effects and application of sunlight. Then I usually consult with “specialists” and come up with a diagnosis and a treatment plan. It may require a fungicide,  fertilizer or some other chemical or beneficial biological agent.

Chemical companies like pharmaceutical suppliers of human drugs have finely tuned applications and pathways to target the offending pathogen.

Also, the correct dosage must be calculated to insure just the right amount of the drug is applied to solve the problem. Too little and it won’t correct the problem, too much and it might blow up the fruit and cause more damage.
Hippocrates had it correct when he said, “First, do no harm.”

He just needed to include farmers in his admonishment too.